Reach an Agreement by Seeing it Their Way

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Compromise gets a bad rap, but it’s an essential leadership skill. And you can’t do it effectively without understanding the other side’s point of view. Don’t let your ego prevent you from seeing the merits of their case. Instead, ask open-ended questions to stimulate conversation. Try “Why do you feel that way?” or “How can we do it better?” or “Help me understand the issue more clearly.” If talking doesn’t work, experience the other individual’s perspective firsthand. For example, visit your colleague’s office to understand the forces and people that are shaping her point of view. Meet with her boss. If you still run into roadblocks, maintain respect. This lays the foundation for mutual trust, which makes compromise — now or later — much easier.

Adapted from “Compromising When Compromise Is Hard” by John Baldoni.

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